All Change

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks with some fairly large changes, I have not had time to update this nonsense, but I only have one reader and about two hundred watchers trying sell Viagra, so I don’t think I have anything to worry about.


I have now stood down from my Vice-Chairman post at Harlow Radio Club, I have also left the club. I have not left under a cloud, it is more to do with the way I am with people in general. It’s a personal thing and not something I fully understand myself yet.

I will continue with radio as I am still enjoying it, I just don’t see the need to belong to a club to participate.


On my last post I stated how much I liked my Daughters boyfriend, what a difference a couple of weeks make. They have now gone their separate ways and I have to say I am relieved. Least said soonest mended.

The good news however is that Toni passed her driving test a couple of weeks ago, she passed with only one minor mark, an almost perfect performance.  So she is now whizzing around in her little Corsa. I have taken her out on the motorway to get her used to fast moving traffic. She is a good driver and just needs to build her confidence up a bit.


This weekend me and Pat went up the boat, I haven’t been up since July so it was feeling a bit neglected. We went up on the Friday morning. Unfortunately the domestic batteries were completely flat. The engine battery was fine and after a little coaxing Martha’s 45 year old BMC diesel engine roared into life. We took the boat around to Sutton for a pump out and some diesel, all done we took a run up to Neatishead, we had to disturb a couple of anglers to get moored up but this doesn’t bother me, as I get older I seem to have gone off fishing and fishermen.

We had intended to stay the night aand try the refurbished pub, but I had concerns over the batteries so we sailed back to our moorings in Stalham. Me and Pat bought some booze and food in the local Tesco and had a good night watching the telly. We returned home the following day (Saturday). We are going back up in two weeks time.

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It’s been a funny couple of weeks, I have found myself in a really reflective mood, and I’m not sure why that is. I have been reading Danny Bakers new book and there are a lot of similarities in our childhoods and I think that may have something to do with it. Last weekend I took a drive around my old stamping ground, Plaistow. The area has completely changed, not so much the architecture, although there have been some big changes here and there, but the inhabitants. London has always been a melting pot with people coming from all over the place to earn a crust, however what is really evident here is the speed at which this European influx have settled in. Most of the shops in my old neighbourhood cater for the Eastern Europeans with shop signage in cyrillic or urdu or the seemingly odd 10 letter words with only one vowel and at least two Z’s. I can’t say I am happy about this, but I can do little to change anything, I am concerned for the future.


Radio activity has been very quiet of late due to a mixture of things, work has been hectic, the bands have been quiet and I have had a real downturn in enthusiasm for the club. I don’t need the club to play radio and I don’t expect this lack of activity to continue when I leave the club this year. Watch this space.


Work has been really hectic and it’s all happening at the moment. We have taken up residence in our new premises in Orpington. I now have an administrator and she is a godsend, she has taken shedloads of work off me, allowing me to get on with the other stuff.


I had a dream the other night about my dad, my old fella died about eleven years ago now and the last months of his life were miserable. In the dream he looked really well and was wearing a blue cardigan (the cardigan tied into a story he told me about his first date). It was brief but I woke up feeling really good, although I don’t believe dreams, mean anything prophetic, its still nice to see a face you haven’t seen in years. I think I’m really lucky, for though me and my father had some belters of rows over the years, far more so than my siblings. I can say I had the best relationship with him compared to my brothers and sister. There are many reasons for this that I won’t go into here. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think of Pat, especially when I bump into someone we both knew or I see an old coach that he or we either drove or repaired, and would dearly love to have a chat with him about it.


My oldest friend Guiseppe came round yesterday and spent the day with me, we had a long chat about old times, old girlfriends and the state of the nationIt’s always great to see Guiseppe and he is coming over again next week when I get the parts to fix his car.

Daughters Boyfriend

We have been seeing a bit of Toni’s boyfriend Dan, I have to say he is a really nice chap and they seem really comfortable around each other. I’m hoping it continues.


That’s all for now





Onwards and Upwards

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Just when I thought I could smell autumn, we have had a week of mid 20c temperatures, although hopefully we should see the temperatures dropping soon. I like my seasons to be as they should.


Interesting things happening at work currently, we are opening another workshop in SE London/Kent. I am in the middle of taking on new engineers admin and a storeman. Very busy, very good.


My CW continues to improve and my microphone has cobwebs all over it. I have made 180 contacts on the key so far this year, I’m hoping for 250 by the end of the year. I have decided to stand down from the committee of my local radio club, I have also decided to cut back my activity there also.

I visited the National Hamfest this week, which is tiny compared to Freidrichafen and Deyton, but its our rally and it should be supported. I always manage to do see what I need to see in about and hour and half. I had a look at the new FT-3000 and I had to walk away when the salesman came over for fear that I’d end up buying one. I bought a kit from Kanga for a qrp 60m transciever, that’ll give me something to do over the winter. I also bought a book of qrp project plans, something else to keep me going over the winter.

That’ll do for now


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Where does the time go

A couple of weeks have passed since my last update so I thought I’d better check in and put a few lines in.

Ham Radio

I have been quite busy with the radio of late, CW is getting easier and I am finding I can easily work few contacts every time I switch the FT-950 on. August saw me sat in a field at the second of my clubs  two field weekends. As usual I worked the key although conditions weren’t that good I still managed a few EU stations.

Das Boot

The boat has taken up quite a lot of my time this year but as usual August has seen a downturn in our activity, this is mainly due to the school holidays, so we haven’t done too much boatwise.

Life is very good at the moment, I’ll update in due course.


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Another Cracking Weekend

Last week I noticed the alternator on my Land Rover was working erratically, on inspection I noticed that it had overheated and some of the wires were burnt. I hadn’t noticed but the bearings in the alternator must have been getting progressively noisier, because it was making a hell of a racket.I managed to pick up a reconditioned alternator for £80 from Terrainvehicles and it turned up 2 days laters. So after an hour of scraping my knuckles I had the new part fitted and Odin was working again.

As I write this I have just returned from a long weekend in Norfolk on the boat. After nearly two years of inactivity (boatwise) we are certainly getting some use out of Martha.

The rivers are much busier at this time of year on account of the six week school holiday. The weather was blistering with a temperature of 29c. This meant that Alf made use of the cooling effects of the marina and went for a swim several times. Overnight we had a light display by way of a local thunderstorm, the only downside was that this idiot left his camera behind, but it was good all the same.

During a bored spell on Sunday I got the brush out and decided to give the old girl a wash, not Lesley, the boat. I have been putting this off because the dirt has become really ingrained over the last year and despite washing the roof several times over the past month, it rarelyt makes much difference. I got my trusty scourer out and set to the roof, this is quite a job as the pad is around 4″x6″ and Martha’s roof is more than 72 sq ft. Anyway two hours later and I was really pleased with the results, the roof was back to its former glory and Martha looked loved again.

We were treated Saturday night to a glorious sunset, again I forgot my camera.

2014-07-20 15.14.16 HDR

Alfie up to mischief as usual.

Aylmers Weekend

This weekend was the first of the two annual visits we make to Aylmers farm. Generally we erect some tents and play radio all weekend trying out different radios and antennas and just socialise. Unfortunately this weekend was a little under subscribed, which was no fault of the organisers, it was just one of those things. I wasn’t going to go this year due to prior arrangements, but after hearing about the expected poor turn out I re-arranged things in order to attend. By the time I got to Aylmers the tents and masts were already put up, so there wasn’t much for me to do. I took Alfie with me to let him have a run around in the field, which he did.

My radio of choice this visit was my FT-897 and pro whip antenna, I had intended building a multi-band dipole but ran out of time. So the pro whip it was to be. After a teething problem with the feeder I called CQ on 30 metres and a Czech Republic station came straight back to me, followed swiftly by a German station, after a couple more stations I worked W1MK in Massachusetts and got a 599 report straight back.

In the morning I got back on the key and worked a few more stations. I am very pleased with the 897’s performance and am getting used to it now, I am glad I chose to add this radio to my collection, this is my 5th Yaesu radio in my collection.

In other news, Martha II finally passed her Boat Safety Certificate, I went up on last Wednesday and met the Inspector at Sutton Staithe, he was a very nice man, and I’d say this even if he failed us, and set to work, I removed panels and gave him access to the relevant areas and after an inspection lasting the best part of 2 hours Martha II was given her Boat Safety Certificate. I cant wait for me and Lesley to get back out on the river again.



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Last night saw my third go at the 2m UKAC contest, and I have come to the conclusion that I need to change my tactics.

I managed 29 contacts last night and 11 squares, I managed to put a few new contacts in the book, I even swapped my FT-897 for my IC-910, the reason being because the IC-910 will put out 100 watts compared to the 25 watts from the 897. However looking back at the previous results last night saw my points down on the previous nights. I never managed any continental, Scottish or Island stations, although I did work a Welsh station in Cardiff.

Currently I use the search and pounce method, this just means going up and down the band listening for stations and then pouncing on them, one of the drawback of this is that it can take some time to find a station then swing the beam around to get them properly. It’s not very efficient, but you are able to keep an ear out for the squares you need. The other method involve staying put on the one frequency and calling and calling, drawback is a lack of selectivity for the stations you need.

Given that the past three 2m contests I have managed around the 30 mark it would appear that I would be unlikely to improve on this sticking to the same approach, so It looks like next week I am going to find a quit spot and just dig and call. I’ll let you know how I get on

Insanity: to do the same thing time and again, but expect different results each time

Jun 2m ukac









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